Introduction

These days, it’s all about getting the most value from your purchase, and smartphones are one market wherein the modern consumer really digs into detail, and wonders, is it worth every peso of the money I spent on it?

Huawei Y9s (21)Fortunately, Huawei is a company that knows how to up its game in every segment, with new devices that offer a good price to specs ratio. The new Y9s is a classic case in point.

Huawei Y9s (30)It’s a phone that wants to be a multimedia powerhouse with its huge display, and capable hardware. At the same time, it wants to be premium with how it looks and feels, But best of all, it doesn’t want to burn a huge hole in your wallet.

The question is, does it deliver?

Specifications
Display 6.59″ FHD+ TFT LCD
Processor Kirin 710F
RAM 6GB
Storage 128GB
Rear Cameras 48MP Main
8MP Ultra Wide
2MP Depth
Front Camera 16MP
OS Android 9 + EMUI 9.1
Battery 4,000mAh
SRP PhP13,990

Design

Huawei Y9s (24)In most ways, the Y9s resembles to the Y9 Prime 2019 – a huge screen, glossy rear panel, and a motorized front camera.

Huawei Y9s (1)Its large footprint does make it a little tricky to hold and use with one hand, and those with smaller hands may find it even more cumbersome. Without using a case, the rear panel is also slightly slippery.

Huawei Y9s (16)On the right side is a fingerprint scanner, which also acts as the power button, along with the volume rocker.

Huawei Y9s (17)At the bottom, you get a USB-C port, along with the speaker, and headphone jack. Glad they kept it!

Huawei Y9s (22)Up top, you get the SIM card slot, along with the motorized module for the fron camera.

Huawei Y9s (27)Speaking of the display, it’s a 6.59-inch screen with the usual FHD+ resolution. It’s a TFT display, so don’t expect very punchy colors. Despite that however, details are decent, text looks properly share, and color saturation is more that enough.

Performance

The Y9s runs on the same processor as the Y9 Prime – the Kirin 710F. Of course, a lot of you will probably argue that this chip is kind of outdated for a device in 2020, and that it should be running on the newer Kirin 810, and actually, I do agree, to an extent.

Its AnTuTu score puts it just below the HONOR 9, and ahead of the Samsung Galaxy A51. What’s interesting is that it’s also very close to the realme 3 Pro, which has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 710.

The device packs 6GB of RAM, which is more than enough even for heavy multi-tasking, and an ample 128GB of storage.

For our gaming test, we used GameBench to measure median FPS and stability, as well as estimated uptime.

Mobile Legends

MLBB supports Ultra + HD Mode + HFR Mode, and even with all those settings ON, things are still pretty smooth and fluid. You’ll be able to play an estimated 26.8 hours of MLBB on this phone in a single charge.

CoD Mobile

Unfortunately, CoD Mobile only supports Low setting + Medium FPS, possibly due to the game not being optimized for the processor. The game is very much playable, but not as fluid as what you’ll get on higher FPS settings.

You’ll be able to play an estimated 13.4 hours of CoD Mobile on this phone in a single charge.

Camera

The Y9s packs a triple rear camera setup, which consists of a 48MP main shooter, an 8MP ultra wide angle lens, and a 2MP depth sensor.

Huawei Y9s Camera Sample (22)Huawei Y9s Camera Sample (19)This joint strikeforce of sensors makes the device highly adaptive to just about any scene. Need to get more in the frame? switch to the wide-angle camera. Need the most details? use the main sensor,  need that convincing depth of field effect? use Aperture or Portrait Mode.

Huawei Y9s Camera Sample (21)

In fact, I found the optics in this phone as unexpectedly great, considering its price. You get plenty of details in every shot, there’s good exposure control, sharpness, and texture are also more than decent.

Huawei Y9s Camera Sample (37)

As for the depth of field effect, it’s not bad, it’s in fact, very convincing, and looks more refined than some other mid-rangers. You can also add good edge detection to the mix.

Huawei Y9s Camera Sample (13)Huawei Y9s Camera Sample (7)Low light shots are also impressive for a mid-ranger. It does prefer to smudge the edges out than to show noise though.

Huawei Y9s Camera Sample (11)As far as selfies are concerned, it’s not the best out there, but it’s more than enough for your social media posts.

Software

At the time of writing this review, our unit was running EMUI 9.1 on top of Android 9, so you get the usual features that we’ve come to love.

Smart resolution lets the phone decide when to automatically reduce or increase screen resolution depending on what you’re doing. Digital Balance, which allows you to monitor app usage, restrict app access when you’re sleeping, and set your daily screen time.

You’re given the traditional suite of authentication methods, plus fingerprint (which works fast by the way). There’s no option for Face Unlock, which can be a letdown to some.

Performance-wise, the UI runs smooth and fluid when navigating home screens as well as menus. Opening apps are quick enough, and switching from one to the other is seamless.

Battery

Using PCMark’s Work 2.0 benchmark which simulates tasks such as data manipulation and basic video editing, the device managed to churn out a score of 12 hours and 33 minutes.

Huawei Y9s BatteryDepending on your usage, you should be able to get at least a full day on this phone before having to recharge.

Huawei Y9s (23)
Huawei Y9s Review
Our Verdict
The Huawei Y9s delivers in basically all departments, and exudes the signature quality that Huawei devices offer. It looks and feels premium, it performs more than well enough for basic day to day tasks and even a bit of gaming, its various cameras allow it to adapt to various shooting conditions, and with good quality by the way. Software pretty much covers the basics and is optimized, and battery life is stellar. Some things could be better of course. The lack of Face Unlock is bewildering, and a newer processor would've made it an even better deal. Still, for its PhP13,990 price tag, it's a well-rounded device, and proves that you really don't need to spend a ton of money for a good quality device.
Design
Performance
Camera
Software
Battery
Price
What's Good
Premium look and feel
Great day-to-day performance
Highly flexible camera system
Photo quality is more than decent
Well-optimized software
Great battery life
Good price
What's Not
A newer processor would've been great
Lack of face unlock could be a deal breaker to some
4.2

Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.